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  1. #1
    Join Date
    May. 29, 2008
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    Va
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    523

    Default Pelleted bedding (not sure if I like or not?)

    This is the first time I've used pelleted bedding. I have 1 horse that is a chronic "bed wetter" and even with stall mats the urine smell was horrible with shavings.
    I re-did his stall with woody pet and some other pellets that they sell at Tractor supply(can't remember name) I does help with the urine odor...BUT dust free it is NOT
    This horse's eyes now are always running...at 1st I thought allergies, now I'm wondering if it isn't this bedding.
    Any input???
    (also, maybe silly question....why do some stables use straw for bedding, if not breed barn? went on barn tour like a month ago and every barn had straw bedding...)



  2. #2
    Join Date
    Dec. 13, 1999
    Location
    Greensboro, NC
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    35,578

    Default

    What did you do/are you doing with the pellets once you put them in? Part of the deal with the pellets is that the wet stuff should be mixed in with the dry to some degree for the reasons of the dust. Otherwise, yes, purely dry pellets that have broken down into their dust ARE dusty.
    ______________________________
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  3. #3
    Join Date
    Feb. 18, 2008
    Location
    Landlocked in Western Mass.
    Posts
    283

    Default

    I'm not sure if I like the pellets either, but I've been using them for @ 3 yrs, and just can't stop! They are alot more economical, convenient, & easier in the long run than bagged shavings, but ultimately it's the dust that gets me, too.
    In the warmer months (ie, when it's not 10 below zero...), I give the stalls a quick fine spray with the hose after I've cleaned them (I shovel out any wet urine spots, 'cause if you leave them, it just smells like ammonia), and that keeps the dust down - until they dry out again, which is usually overnight.
    In the winter, I've tried adding shredded paper (from the office) or some bagged shavings on top of the moistened pellets instead of spraying them daily, and that seems to help a little bit, but then you also get some dust from the paper and/or shavings.
    I'd say if you try these options, and your horse still has runny eyes, go with shavings.
    Whatever you do, or dream you can, begin it; Boldness has genius, magic, and power in it ~ Goethe



  4. #4
    Join Date
    Jul. 31, 2007
    Posts
    14,996

    Default A tad biased but...

    No, you don't like pelleted bedding.

    It tends to start as hard, slippery ball bearings. You are supposed to wet it slightly in order to have the pellets break down. It does, but become very fine (as the product essentially is). It also seems to me that once wet at all, those same tiny, tiny bits of wood don't have more room to absorb urine.

    The results are usually a dark-colored stall that always smells faintly of ammonia. I have also *never* been in a pro-pellet barn that didn't bed its stalls too thinly for my taste. I think people interested in using the product to save on shavings (and the manufactures advertise you can), they might accomplish the same effect by bedding with the same thin coat of shavings. Admit you don't care about hock sores, or how it feels and smells to lie down in the bathroom/bed and call it a day.

    Sorry for the harsh words. In an effort to pry my mind open, I did a mini experiment with pellets in my cat's litter box. This was how I learned the inherent limits of this kind of bedding. On the other hand, if you want the best, cheapest, nicest-smelling cat litter ever, you won't do better than a bag of horse shavings. Seven bucks or so will keep you in pine-fresh cat litter for close to a year (for 1-2 cats).

    I don't think your bedwetter will do better with pellets than he will with shavings. Straw, as you point out, will really suck in many respects. What you might be looking for is lime or something like Stall PDZ spread on the mats over his pee spot and under the shavings.
    The armchair saddler
    Politically Pro-Cat



  5. #5
    Join Date
    Dec. 19, 2007
    Location
    Camden, DE
    Posts
    1,948

    Default

    Stall Dry and pellets work the best for my very wet horse.

    I put Stall Dry under the pelleted bedding where his pee spot is.

    I usually don't have a dust issue. I will add a new bag of pellets and mist them with water. I have definitely found them to be more absorbent than shavings. I feel like they create less waste as well.



  6. #6
    Join Date
    May. 29, 2008
    Location
    Va
    Posts
    523

    Default

    I actually read the instructions and have been mixing the wet with the dry...I live in the barn and literally check on his stall probably every hour when he's in it...they are only up from about 12-6 (pee'er is fat(goes out w/grazing muzzle most of the time he's out, other horse has EPSM and can't do afternoon grass)
    I mix it, then recently have been shoveling out wet clumps.
    And i don't use it for economical reasons (even thought I'm as poor as a church mouse!) I continuously shovel it to the middle of the stall where he pees...it's at least 1ft deep there....I found that is the only way it doesn't immediately seep down to the stall mats, then through where the stall mats come together (obviously not all the way together).
    It definitely smells less of ammonia, than the shavings, which did nothing.
    Because I literally live with the horses I am fanatically about this "odor"!!!!!
    I was hoping this would be the answer
    I can't wait until fall/winter now so I don't have to stall them.



  7. #7
    Join Date
    May. 29, 2008
    Location
    Va
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    523

    Default

    Oh yeah, other horse WILL NOT pee in his stall!!!!! I have to walk him outside to pee like a dog!!! one extreme or the other!



  8. #8
    Join Date
    Dec. 14, 2007
    Location
    Wilsonville, Ontario, CANADA
    Posts
    4,351

    Default

    I sell bedding for my livlihood

    It drives me totally stark raving bonkers to hear the claims of different manufacturers on differemt products

    Soft Stall / Comfort Stall - "You will use less bedding and save money in bedding costs!"

    BS. This seems to be the justification for so many damned owners to take one bag of pellets or shavings or whatever they are using and sprinkle it over the top like salt and pepper and do 5 stalls with one bag of bedding. Or - in many cases - I have come across owners that dont use ANY bedding at all "Because WE have Soft Stalls!" and the horse lie in the urine and manure all night long and they scoop it out in the morning, hose the stall down, sprinkle pine oil in there and feel they are providing the best care for these poor horses ...

    Mixing the wet in with the dry to keep the dust down in the wood pellets

    Where does ANYONE think by mixing wet or damp urine laden bedding in with dry clean bedding is a good idea??? Over the course of a few days or a week, when the urine laden bedding is completely mixed in with the clean dry stuff, the stall will naturally turn yellow and stink of ammonia. No big surprise there at all ...
    Wood pellets are made from fine sweepings and fine sawdust. Once they break down and dry out - no big surprise here at all - they are going to be very very very dusty unless you keep misting them every day to keep the dust levels down. DONT mix urine in with them. BAD idea. VERY VERY bad idea ...

    I have a compressed straw pellet that I sell. It has its good and bad points just like any other bedding out there and it has its own way of being mucked out and handled just like any other bedding product out there. You dont wet it like you do with wood based pellets and it breaks down in 2-4 weeks and can be safely spread in fields in that time frame as well

    But - if people mishandle it, or dont muck it out correctly, they are going to hate it equally as much as they would if they mishandle wood pellets

    Straw and shavings are the most forgiving beddings for mishandling as they both dont absorb worth diddley squat, so you can really screw up how you muck them out and you wont ruin your whole stall in the process

    Take time to figure out how each product needs to be handled. You, your horses and your pocket book will thank you ...



  9. #9
    Join Date
    May. 15, 2009
    Location
    Eastern Ontario, CND
    Posts
    2,191

    Default

    Shredded paper isn't a bad idea, as long are you don't have a gray!

    Peat moss is heavy but just as long as you have tractor access (or cat just get a bob-cat in there) it is a good option. Plus your gardener friends will WUV you!

    If you're boarding at home (or the BO is open to the idea) you may want to try to improve the drainage in his stall. Scoop out the floor (obviously you can't if it's concrete), lay in some gravel, then more dirt, stall mats & re-bed.

    I would, at very least, lift up his mats and have a look under there and see what is going on - you may be quite surprised when it becomes very apparent where the smell is coming from. If you've got puddles, start lifting the mats weekly (daily if you're on concrete), stall dry & let air dry all day (as much as possible) and keep the barn well ventilated while you do (theoretically you're barn staff should already be doing this).

    Where I used to work the drainage was BEYOND terrible (mostly clay soil) and I couldn't take the smell in the barn any more so started lifting mats daily. I'd flip for at least 5 minutes while I did the rest of the stall, and cover in stall dry (went through that stuff like it was free!). The barn never smelled better!
    "For some people it's not enough to just be a horse's bum, you have to be sea biscuit's bum" -anon.
    Nes' Farm Blog ~ DesigNes.ca
    Need You Now Equine



  10. #10
    Join Date
    Apr. 11, 2006
    Location
    Lodi Ohio
    Posts
    1,417

    Default

    I use a mixture of pellets and sawdust to keep the dust down (get the big flaked sawdust)...I use the pellets in the pee spot and remove it when it turns color. Sometimes I can mix it for lightly soiled areas, but mostly I have to take out the bottom layer. The sawdust on top of the pellets keeps the dust down and the bedding is softer.

    Overall I have found that solution to be the best for odor and dust.

    Nancy



  11. #11
    Join Date
    Sep. 7, 2006
    Location
    WNY
    Posts
    5,496

    Default

    I don't think the pellets are the problem here, I think your stalls are. How big are the gaps in your mats that so much urine can get between/under them? What's under the mats? Concrete? Dirt? Stone dust? If the surface under the mats has no drainage, it's going to be yucky. No bedding is going to make up for bad stalls.

    I put three 40# bags of pellets in my 10x12 stall, and it's soft and cushy and very absorbent (although my horse doesn't pee a ton), and it never smells.



  12. #12
    Join Date
    Jan. 16, 2002
    Location
    West Coast of Michigan
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    Default

    I'm still waiting on the sample of pelleted straw bedding I requested 3 months ago.

    I've used pelleted bedding and like it a lot, but it's not just "dump in and go". It must be wet down, and periodically sprayed with the hose to keep the dust down.

    It's very, very absorbent and breaks down REALLY fast in the manure pile. It's also a lot easier to store 50 bags of pellets than 50 bags of sawdust/shavings.

    Those are the "pros".

    The cons are that it can be dusty if you don't sprinkle it down once in a while--in summer I have to do it almost every day because the horses aren't in their stalls much and the bedding just sits. In winter I never have to hose it. In winter it can freeze, which is a problem in certain climates--like mine. It's also a little bit more expensive here than shavings/sawdust by the bag.

    Brands vary HUGELY (IMO) in how much they absorb/break down. Hands down, TSCs "Equine Fresh" is the winner. Woody Pet is so-so, and McCrumb and Guardian pellets stink--they never seem to dissolve without a fight.

    Since I've found a local supplier of teeny, tiny flake shavings, (almost sawdust) I've been using those--they're a little cheaper, don't freeze, and I can buy them at my local feed store which I like to support as much as I can. I still keep some bags of Equine Fresh pellets around for using under the "pee spots" and an occasional couple of bags that I dump in the outdoor "horse porch" to keep it soft and fluffy where they stand a lot.

    But yeah, not everyone likes them. That's OK.
    Click here before you buy.



  13. #13
    Join Date
    May. 20, 2009
    Location
    Lincoln, NE
    Posts
    152

    Default

    We have used the pelletted bedding for several years without too many problems with dust. We clean the stall entirely, removing all urine soaked bedding and when adding new pellets we add water to expand the pellets about halfway. it seems to be enough to keep the horses from rolling around on hard pellets while still retaining the ability to absorb a lot of urine. personally, I'm a fan. I find it much easier to pick through the bedding to get manure out than wasting a lot of shavings that get caught on my pick. I think it really comes down to personal preference.



  14. #14
    Join Date
    Apr. 11, 2006
    Location
    Lodi Ohio
    Posts
    1,417

    Default

    Dw--tried the straw pellets, hated them. The broke down on impact with the floor. Seriously, they just fell apart and the dust was terrible. They are also dark and ugly. Ok that shouldn't matter, but a nice, clean, bright stall is nirvana to me.

    Nancy



  15. #15
    Join Date
    Mar. 29, 2008
    Posts
    3,059

    Default

    I just started using the pellet stuff from TSC recently, and I love it! Just in the past few days, I've noticed it being dusty. One of my horses was having the runny eye thing too. So I followed the directions on the bag and spray it a little with the hose before I put the horses in, and before I clean stalls. Works much better.

    The only thing I have found that goes against the directions is getting the new bedding to break up. I have to dump it in the stall, spread it out thinly, and spray. Then wait a few minutes, stir it up, and spray again. I have to spray with the hose about 5 times before I get the majority of the pellets broken up.

    OP, try misting it a little bit before you put horses in the stalls. I wet it down just enough to change the color a little bit.



  16. #16
    Join Date
    Sep. 13, 2002
    Location
    Pacific Northwest
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    4,951

    Default

    I use pellets at home because we don't have a bulk shavings storage area (yet!), so bags of pellets are easier to find a place for, and they do break down a lot faster in composting, so like them in that way. But I hate the dust. HATE IT. I spray the stalls, but there are times you just can't keep up. So I tend to put down a thin layer of shavings (bought in bags = $$) on top to keep the dust down. In the winter, there is usually enough moisture in the air to keep the dust down, but when it gets dry in the summer, everything in my barn has a coating of pellet dust.



  17. #17
    Join Date
    Jun. 14, 2006
    Location
    VA
    Posts
    11,372

    Default

    I loved the pelleted. But I know lots of people who don't love it and I am not entirely sure it's well suited for every situation.

    I've used several brands. I like Woody Pet best.

    I think it works best on mats as opposed to dirt.

    When I add bag(s), I take a whole bag, I make a big slit across the bag lengthwise and then I fill with water either with the hose or half a bucket of water that I'd otherwise be dumping. I let it sit for 10-15 min. Then I dump. Some of the pellets then are puffed up, others are still hard.

    When I clean, I grab manure first, then find the pee spot(s). I remove them. I do not remix. Because of the absorbent nature, the pee spots are generally contained and not seeping around "infecting" all of the other shavings. I put down some lime over the pee spot, then fluff shavings back over. NOTE: if you have a super messy horse who pummels poo into tiny pieces, pelleted may not be for you.

    I find that if I am good about cleaning, I only have to add a bag a week. I typically do not have to strip stalls when using pelleted bedding.

    For my two horses, I've found that with pelleted, I waste a lot less shavings because they're not getting caught in the teeth of the fork like the bigger shavings.

    In the summer, I typically mist over the clean stall with water to keep dust down. I have a COPD horse and cannot do dust.

    If I am using a run in/out setup, then I clean in the morning and bank shavings to the sides...dragging it all back out in the evening before shutting in.

    I am currently boarding and they also use pelleted shavings. They tried the corn cob pellets for a bit but several of the horses started eating them (mine included) and so back to pine pelleted.....
    A good horseman doesn't have to tell anyone...the horse already knows.

    Might be a reason, never an excuse...



  18. #18
    Join Date
    Jan. 16, 2002
    Location
    West Coast of Michigan
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    Seven-up, what do the bags say to do? (I'll admit I've never read the bag, LOL!) I usually just slash a big "X" in the bag and dump in a few gallons of water and let them expand as they soak up the water, then dump and spray a little bit. Or put the bag in a big muck bucket and dump some water in there to mix/fluff.
    Click here before you buy.



  19. #19
    Join Date
    Mar. 29, 2008
    Posts
    3,059

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by deltawave View Post
    Seven-up, what do the bags say to do? (I'll admit I've never read the bag, LOL!) I usually just slash a big "X" in the bag and dump in a few gallons of water and let them expand as they soak up the water, then dump and spray a little bit. Or put the bag in a big muck bucket and dump some water in there to mix/fluff.

    The bag says to spread out about 1/2" to 3/4" thick layer and mist. According to the bag, that's all you need to do. But that hardly does anything. As soon as you go to spread it out, it sounds like you're raking marbles. So I spray, mix, spray, mix, spray, mix until I fluff up most of the pellets. Last time, I tried putting some water in the wheelbarrow, then a bag of pellets, then added more water and mix around. That was just too much of a pain. It might work better if I let it soak longer, but I'm impatient.



  20. #20
    Join Date
    Dec. 19, 2007
    Location
    Camden, DE
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    1,948

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by deltawave View Post
    I'm still waiting on the sample of pelleted straw bedding I requested 3 months ago.

    I've used pelleted bedding and like it a lot, but it's not just "dump in and go". It must be wet down, and periodically sprayed with the hose to keep the dust down.

    It's very, very absorbent and breaks down REALLY fast in the manure pile. It's also a lot easier to store 50 bags of pellets than 50 bags of sawdust/shavings.

    Those are the "pros".

    The cons are that it can be dusty if you don't sprinkle it down once in a while--in summer I have to do it almost every day because the horses aren't in their stalls much and the bedding just sits. In winter I never have to hose it. In winter it can freeze, which is a problem in certain climates--like mine. It's also a little bit more expensive here than shavings/sawdust by the bag.

    Brands vary HUGELY (IMO) in how much they absorb/break down. Hands down, TSCs "Equine Fresh" is the winner. Woody Pet is so-so, and McCrumb and Guardian pellets stink--they never seem to dissolve without a fight.

    Since I've found a local supplier of teeny, tiny flake shavings, (almost sawdust) I've been using those--they're a little cheaper, don't freeze, and I can buy them at my local feed store which I like to support as much as I can. I still keep some bags of Equine Fresh pellets around for using under the "pee spots" and an occasional couple of bags that I dump in the outdoor "horse porch" to keep it soft and fluffy where they stand a lot.

    But yeah, not everyone likes them. That's OK.

    I love Equine Fresh pellets. I still have a few bags left luckily. My boarding barn uses Guardian and they're OK, but I prefer Equine Fresh by far.

    The straw pellets...well...my horse wouldn't stop eating them. They're also harder to find around here.

    Pelleted bedding ends up being a little more expensive than saw dust but we can find more reliable providers for pellets.

    Also, in the winter our saw dust pile always becomes hard as a rock. We haven't had too many pellet freezing issues since one of the barns is well insulated and heated.



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